Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Gene Simmons Pumpkin Lit

Just wanted to say Happy Halloween to those of you who enjoy this day. This is an old shot of an attempt at carving something different from a few years ago. Why not the demon from the band KISS? Seems somewhat appropriate!

Have a great day and thanks for taking a look!

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Monday, October 25, 2010

He Played Until...

Skeleton Piano

Halloween is coming and I thought it a good time to post a shot I took in a place called "Voodoo Blues" somewhere around Decatur St and Iberville or Bienville in New Orleans. It's one of those touristy t-shirt and bead shops you can find all over the place down there. But, they have some cool things adorning the shops and this skeleton playing the piano jumped out at me. I had to get a shot of it. If only that magazine rack wasn't behind the skeleton.

Anyway, have a Happy Halloween everyone and thanks for dropping by.

This shot was processed as usual. In addition, I added the Darken/Lighten filter from Nik Color Efex to kind of isolate the skeleton a bit.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 640
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 0.6
Focal Length: 25mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dumpsters in Alley

TrashBins

Before I get to this shot, I wanted to let you know that the lens I just purchased from 42nd Street Photo just came in and it does have the 5 year warranty.  They honored their word and I'm pretty happy about that.  However, I'm not sure I can buy from them again since the products they advertise on their site is not necessarily what they will send.  If you do decide to purchase from them, be sure to talk to a salesman to find out exactly what you are getting before you make the final purchase.  I think I got lucky.  Read my previous posts for more info.

Pretty exciting, eh? Dumpsters. It doesn't get any better than this! This is that shot I mentioned in the my 7th Street Garage post.  It's not super exciting, but there's something about it that I like.  I guess it's the grunginess.

This is another shot that I took in the morning on the way to work.  You know, I only have so much time to get a shot before I get to work and I don't want to get up at an ungodly hour that's worse than what I get up to already.  I really wanted to try to get an alley shot and this wasn't the first.  The other shot that I wanted was pretty cool, but as soon as I had all of me gear setup, the Waste Management truck came in a screwed it all up.  It might have been good if the Waste Management truck was an actual trash truck, but this one was just a regular pickup truck. Nothing interesting there.  So, I went across the street and found this shot.  This actually turned out better I think because the lighting was brighter, but it would be cool to get a trash truck, especially in HDR. Oh well, someday maybe.  I guess I can always dream of trash.  Wait... Nevermind.

This shot was processed as usual.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 400
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1.6
Focal Length: 12mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Friday, October 22, 2010

Side Drive at the National Cathedral

Side Drive at the National Cathedral

I was perusing the vault located on the compound here known as Evan's Expo and discovered a relic of a shot from days long ago.. April of this year. OK, maybe not that long ago, but it's a shot that I processed from my trip to DC and forgot to put out there. Not sure if I really forgot, or if I subconsciously refused to put it out because I thought it not blog-worthy, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. It's a shot of the National Cathedral I took while waiting to go in for the tour. This was the driveway that rolls up on the side of the place. I think it's where dignitaries and such drive up and go into the place.

This shot was processed as usual.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.67
Shutter:1/320
Focal Length: 10mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

7th Street Garage

7th St Garage

In an effort to keep this blog relatively fresh, I have to - obviously - keep putting out some new photos. One way I like to do that is to head to downtown Austin and try to find something to shoot. This time I tried to take a different tack on my parking garage series and actually get a shot of the inside of a garage. So that's what we have here. I'm not sure of its photographic value as far as all the rules are concerned, such as leading lines, rule of thirds, etc. I'm not even sure if it is that interesting. Sometimes things I find interesting, others don't and vice-versa. I thought this one was kind of interesting because of the air vent that travels along the ceiling. I thought it gave the shot a little uniqueness and sort of leads the eye around the shot a little bit. Am I in the ballpark on this or totally off-base?

Anyway, this particular garage is located on 7th Street in Austin right behind the Driskill Hotel. There are lots of things to shoot there, but nothing beautiful. It's kind of a grungy part of the downtown area. I have a shot of an alleyway with a bunch of trash bins that I will post in the coming days. They're fun subjects to shoot, but some might think, "Seriously, trash bins and parking garages? Can't you come up with something else?" Not right now. ;-)

This shot was processed as usual except for a couple things... The light behind the pillar in the middle of the shot was rather greeen so I had to use Viveza to control that.  Same goes for the bumper on the Explorer on the left.  I also cranked up the saturation on the Explorer with Viveza and also cranked up the saturation of the overall shot with CS4 by about 21, um, percent, or Photoshop units...whatever they are.  In other words, I used the hue/saturation adjustment and cranked the saturation slider up by 21.

Other setting include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 400
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 0.3 Focal Length: 12mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

WWII Era Tank

WWII Era Tank

I took this shot up at Fort Hood with my wife Eileen and my nephew Dylan.  Dylan wanted to see the tanks so we took him up there. He thought they were "Awesome!" 

This is a World War II-era tank located at the 1st Cavalry Division Museum.  That's a great place to visit because not only do they have old tanks from World War II, but they also have some pretty new stuff as well.  The tank with the desert color camo on it on the left behind this one is an M-1 Abrahms tank which is what we use right now.  There are also Soviet military vehicles there, some of which were capture in Iraq.  Cool stuff!

This shot may not be as awesome since I took it with my Lumix DMC-TZ5 point and shoot.  But, it has auto-bracketing on it and it works pretty well once in a while.  It can only shoot 3 brackets and the widest EV it can do is -1 to +1.  That's OK. And the other thing is that it only saves shots as jpgs.  That's fine also.

I know one thing, I'm gonna hafta go back up there with my DSLR and get some better shots of some of these things some day.  I think there are some great possibilities there!

This shot was processed as usual.  However, I think I also used the duplex filter in Nik Color Efex and sampled the light green color of the tank with a layer opacity of around 20%.

Other setting include:

Camera: Lumix DMC-TZ5
Lens: Built-in 28 - 280mm (35mm equiv.)
ISO: 400
Aperture: f8
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1/800
Focal Length: 28mm (35mm equiv.)
Mode: Normal
Bracketing: 3 exposures with EVs ranging from -1 to +1 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: None

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Follow-up: Nikon 18-200mm VR II Price at 42nd St Photo (Caveat emptor)

I just found out some interesting info from this store... The last couple of days I have been monitoring their website in an effort to price other things as well as track the order of my new lens.  I had problems reaching the site, it kept timing out in my browser.  So, I decided to call them to find out what's going on and get a status.  They said that they are making graphics changes to the site, but it would be back up in 24-48 hours.  They also said that my lens is getting ready to ship and that the shipping department would call when it was ready to go to verify my info.  Very good.

Sure enough,a couple hours later, someone from their shipping dept called and went over my info.  He asked if I would like to buy an extended warranty and I said no, I'll just stick with the Nikon US model 5 year standard warranty.  He said that it didn't come with that, it was just a 30-day warranty.  If I wanted to buy a warranty it would cost something like $79.99.  I told him that ALL US model Nikon products come with a 5 year warranty and I purchased a US version of this lens from their website.  He came back and said that I bought the "non-retail" version or something like that and the "retail" version of this lens comes with the 5 year warranty and it sells for $799.00.  I told him I would like my money back.  He then said he would check a few things out first.  He proceeded to try to sell me a 7 year warranty for $49.  I said I wanted my money back. The phone went silent for a few seconds, I asked if he was still there and he came back and said that he wanted to keep my business and that he'd send me the "retail" version for the price that I paid for the "non-retail" version, which was $709.00.  I said OK and now my fingers are crossed hoping that is in fact what I will receive in a few days.

That's still a great deal, but the their site is a bit misleading.  If you do decide to go with them, keep this story in mind and be ready to haggle if you have to.  I didn't think I would have to when I bought this lens but I should've known something was up with that great price.  I hate haggling if I don't have to.  However, it worked out in this case.

If I run into any more interesting little tidbits from this retailer, I will definitely post it.

Caveat emptor.

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nikon 18-200mm VR II Price at 42nd St Photo

Sorry, I don't have any new pics to post at the moment, but I thought I'd share a good price I found on the Nikon 18-200mm VR II f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED lens if anyone is interested.  Currently you can get it for $709.99 at 42nd Street Photo out of New York City.  It is the US version so it comes with the full warranty.  It's like $50 cheaper than on B&H Photo or Adorama.


I've been waiting a while to find a good price for this lens because I thought the original $850 price when it came out was a bit much.  I even thought about getting a refurb or demo out of Adorama or B&H for around $600 but I just couldn't do it.  Those either come with only a 90 day warranty or no warranty at all.


Needless to say, I'm pretty happy and I can't wait for it to get here in about 10 days or so!  If you are in the market for one of these, check it out!


From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 14, 2010

People-Mover Hospital

Bus Garage

Many things need to happen for the buses at the agency where I work to keep them on the road and getting the masses from point A to point B in their daily routines.  Everything from driving, to dispatching, to security, to customer service, to marketing, to planning, to IT, etc., must all work together everyday to get the bus to where it has to go.  There are so many things that happen harmoniously from day-to-day that it sometimes make my head spin.  One of the most vital things is, of course, maintenance of the vehicles, and that's where this shot comes in.  This is one of the main maintenance bays where the vehicles get serviced.  It's pretty impressive to walk through there and see these massive machines up on lifts getting worked on. The buses look sort of like they're lined up like patients in hospital beds where the "doctors" make their rounds and get the "patients" back to health. It's one facet of what happens here, but it's a lot more interesting that shooting a rack of servers or some file cabinets in an office, even though those things are equally important.

This shot was processed as usual except for one thing... The light at the top center of the shot had sort of a red hue to it.  To correct that, I opened Nik Viveza 2, put a control point right on the light and adjusted the color and hue to give a slight electric blue/green hue, yet keeping it mostly white. 

Other setting include:
Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 200
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 0.8
Focal Length: 10mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

St Louis Cathedral Seen Through Jackson Square

St Louis Catherdral and Jackson Square

First of all, before I talk about the shot above, check out the panorama of the inside of the Superdome I took during the Panthers v Saints game that I put out on Flickr. I would have posted it here, but panorama shots don't seem to work too well on the old blog. As you can see, we were pretty high up. As matter of fact, we couldn't get any higher. We were in the very last row on the highest level, some where around the 25 yard line. My nose just stopped bleeding. ;-) Still, it really wasn't too bad and we had a great time watching the game from there. One of the good things about the seats at the Superdome at that level is that the bathrooms were right behind us. How convenient!

Now, on to the shot above.  Across the street from Cafe Du Monde sits Jackson Square, and through Jackson Square sits the St Louis Cathedral.  It's one of the most famous landmarks in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  It's the oldest catholic cathedral in the US and Pope John Paul II spoke there back in Sept., 1987.  It really made for a nice shot.

It was a little too dark for my liking when I took this one, but I think it worked out pretty well.  I processed it my usual way, but I added a little Nik Viveza 2 to the cathedral itself to brighten it up a little bit.  I don't think the cathedral is really lit up at night, I just think that the lights around Jackson Square reflect off the building so it was a little dark in the initial processing.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 800
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 1.6
Focal Length: 50mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cafe Du Monde, The Original Coffee Stand

Cafe Du Monde

If and when you visit New Orleans, stop at the Cafe Du Monde and try their world famous beignets.  They are these donut-like rectangular pastries covered with a ton of powdered sugar that are out of this world.  If you like donuts, you'll love these.  They may not be good for you, but man, they are good!  We stopped by there our first evening and had a couple with some hot chocolate.  We could've had cafe au lait but then we'd be up all night.  This was the shot I took right before I went in.  My wife and friends were already there.  We sat right behind the pillar where the waiter there is taking a break on the left.

I just processed this shot as normal.  However, I did have to mask in the patrons from one of the middle brackets since HDR doesn't process moving people too well.

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom
ISO: 800
Aperture: f11
Exposure Bias: -0.00
Shutter: 0.8
Focal Length: 15mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 5 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 1 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: Induro AB0
Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 7, 2010

French Quarter Ferns

French Quarter Ferns

The French Quarter in New Orleans is a very unique place. Parts of it, such as Bourbon Street are famously seedy and touristy with its ration of bars and strip clubs, while other parts are quite nice with art galleries, restaurants and quaint little shops. All of the areas have this great architecture similar to what you see here. Most of the buildings are two to three stories in height and have balconies with the iron railings. The decor on a lot of them are full of beautiful plants ranging from hibiscus to ferns. This building is located on the corner of Dumaine and Royal streets in the heart of the French Quarter. This one stood out to me because of the architecture and all of the great ferns hanging over the balconies. They all look so well kept and all are about the same size. It really adds to the look of the place.  I could spend weeks down there shooting and never even scratch the surface of all the great opportunities there.  I'm not even sure I did so well on this shot, but I'm OK with the result for the most part.  I just wish I was able to capture more of the very top of the building, but you get the idea of what it looks like for the most part.

I processed this shot as normal.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 640
Aperture: f8
Exposure Bias: +0.00
Shutter: 1/400
Focal Length: 18mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 3 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 2 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: None

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Old Coffee Pot's bar and kitchen, New Orleans

The Coffee Pot Bar and Kitchen, New Orleans

This past weekend, my wife, a few friends and I went to New Orleans to see a Saints game! Boy, was that fun! The "Who Dat Nation" was rockin'! Those people are nuts! We had a great time there and I have discovered that New Orleans is a photographer's paradise, especially for HDR. I just wish I had more time to shoot stuff there. I did get some shots that I'm happy with, but mostly I fell flat on my face as far as my shots turned out. I'd love to go back and try again some day.

This is one of the shots that I think turned out pretty nice. It's inside a place in the French Quarter called, "The Old Coffee Pot". It's a nice little restaurant we found while looking for a place to have breakfast on the Monday after the game. It was excellent! It's located right next to Pat O'Brien's on St Peters. I had the eggs creole I think it was called. One of our friends had the 'eggs conti' with chicken livers and loved them!  I think it must be an acquired taste.

So, this shot is of the bar and the kitchen.  Our table was just to the right of where I was standing when I took this shot. I really liked the look of the place with its French decor, like the copper awning above the opening looking into the kitchen. I Just wish I had the wide angle lens for this, but I was traveling light that day so I just shot this hand-held with my trusty 18-105 kit lens. 

So, if you are ever in New Orleans and looking for a place for breakfast, check out "The Old Coffee Pot".  They even advertise themselves as having "The Best Breakfast In The French Quarter".

I just processed this shot as normal.

Other settings include:

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 640
Aperture: f8
Exposure Bias: +0.00
Shutter: 1/15
Focal Length: 18mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Bracketing: 3 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 2 stop intervals
White Balance: Auto
Tripod: None

From the blog at http://egearingphoto.blogspot.com

Disqus for Evan's Expo